HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Amorous worms reveal effects of Chernobyl

WORMS contaminated by radioactivity from the Chernobyl nuclear accident have started having sex with each other instead of on their own. According to Ukrainian scientists, they may have changed their sexual behaviour to increase their chances of survival. It's one of the first pieces of direct evidence on how wildlife is affected by radioactive pollution.

Although there is a wealth of evidence on the impact of ionising radiation on humans, its effects on wildlife are poorly understood. In the past the International Commission on Radiological Protection, which recommends radiation safety limits, has set no limits to protect wildlife, assuming that as long as humans were protected, animals and plants would be too.

But in recent years the ICRP has abandoned this assumption and launched an investigation into how best to safeguard "non-human species". Many researchers are focusing on how wildlife has been affected by the radioactivity that spewed from the exploded reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine, 17 years ago this month.

Gennady Polikarpov and Victoria Tsytsugina from the Institute of Biology of the Southern Seas in Sevastopol studied the reproduction of certain sedimentary worms that are vital to aquatic ecosystems (Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, vol 66, p 141). They compared the behaviour of three species in a lake near Chernobyl with the same species in a lake 20 kilometres away. The lakes had similar temperatures and chemical composition, but the worms in the Chernobyl lake had received 20 times as much radiation as those in the other lake. The researchers found some remarkable changes in the worms' sexual habits.

Two species had switched from asexual to sexual reproduction, as they are capable of doing. The proportion of Nais pardalis seeking partners for sex was 5 per cent in the normal lake but 22 per cent in the Chernobyl lake, while the proportions of Nais pseudobtusa doing the same were 10 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
'"/>

Contact: Claire Bowles
claire.bowles@rbi.co.uk
44-207-331-2751
New Scientist
9-Apr-2003


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Convulsions in worms mimic epileptic seizures
2. Heartless worms hold clues to cardiac arrhythmias, sudden death
3. Whale carcass yields bone-devouring worms
4. Oxygen sensing in worms may hold key to healthy blood pressure in humans
5. Researchers discover how worms noses sense oxygen
6. Drunken worms reveal a genetic basis of alcohol response
7. Study in worms shows how genes linked to complexity in animals
8. Two worms are better than one
9. Cows resistance to worms is genetically determined
10. Alien earthworms changing ecology of Northeast forests
11. Scientists study roundworms for behavior patterns

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:8/12/2020)... ... August 11, 2020 , ... Both Roche, based ... entered into license agreements with Housey Pharma’s HMI subsidiary to gain access to ... have annual Research and Development spending in excess of US $10 billion. , ...
(Date:8/3/2020)... ... August 03, 2020 , ... ... new partnership with medical equipment manufacturer, Spectrum Solutions, to provide COVID-19 saliva testing ... their laboratory supply chain for more than 10 years. Early in the COVID-19 ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... 17, 2020 , ... Commercial launch readiness is a critical stage in a ... cure or vaccine, the global economic downturn will only increase price pressures overall for ... and capturing full value from every product launch is critical. However, history shows that ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/31/2020)... ... , ... eSource has long been touted as the solution to high data ... the reasons it did not take off as quickly as people initially expected, and ... moving towards capturing data electronically for clinical trials and then repurposing it for downstream ...
(Date:7/18/2020)... ... ... “We are thrilled to deliver this new technology to the industry” said Matt Hundt, ... market and we were pleased that the IFT jury recognized that.” reFRESH™ couples the ... natural way to extend the shelf life and improve the safety of perishable foods ...
(Date:7/10/2020)... ... July 09, 2020 , ... ... (PTU) is commonly used to suppress pigment formation in zebrafish embryos, maintaining optical ... team led by Dr MA has been using the zebrafish model to investigate ...
(Date:7/1/2020)... GREEN, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... June 29, 2020 ... ... that offers access to competitively procured purchasing contracts to its membership, recently named ... to provide TIPS members with the opportunity to purchase ergonomic seating, cafeteria tables, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: